From Shoebox to Showcase

One family trades in their small Saanich rancher for a new build designed for the whole family to grow into.  

From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
After her small rancher was rebuilt, homeowner Jessica Card was at first worried that she had too much space. But she soon realized that it’s perfect for her family of five.

By Danielle Pope  |  Photos by Mary McNeill Knowles

Jessica Card and her family of five had been living in their 1950s-style rancher for 17 years before realizing they desperately needed more space. 

With a teen, a tween and a now seven-year-old, someone was always sharing a room, someone was always leaving the house to take a call and the two parents were always trying to find ways to make life fit into their 1,200-square-foot Saanich home. At one point, they even renovated the unfinished garage into a rec room, office and laundry area to win an extra 400 square feet. 

“We always loved our house, even though it was just a little shoebox,” says Card. “When we moved in, it was me, my partner and his two-year-old, and since adding our third child we realized we all just need more space.” 

It wasn’t so much a single moment that marked the change as the realization that someone in her circle could help Card take the plunge.

Room for Everyone

Card had known interior designer Kyla Bidgood since Grade 5, and the two were close friends in high school. While they had drifted from each other’s daily orbits due to life, families and careers, social media played the perfect matchmaker. The one thing Card knew for sure was who she wanted on her team. 

From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
The chief gathering place in this home is the great room, which is warmed with oak wood floors and modernized with Dekko concrete panels on the fireplace surround. Red oak bookcases and fir panelling flank the fire, for a unique take on a feature wall. 
From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
Homeowner Jessica Card (left) and interior designer Kyla Bidgood were friends in grade school, but reconnected when Card needed a home renovation for her family of five.

“When Jess reached out she didn’t know exactly what she wanted, but she was looking to me to help them figure out what they needed,” says Bidgood, founder and creative director of the Victoria-based design studio Bidgood. 

At the time, Bidgood had recently welcomed a baby girl and wasn’t taking on clients, but she was happy to make an exception for an old friend. One thing led to another, and suddenly Card’s request for a reno consult turned into a brand-new build.

With the support of Ryan Hoyt of Hoyt Design Co. and GT Mann Contracting, the new house would become a 3,900-square-foot, multi-level home with wide hallways, oversized doors, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private office and plenty of family areas to gather in or catch a little privacy.  

“At first, everything seemed so big, especially in comparison to our old house. I was worried we were going too big — are we building a home for a giant?” says Card. “But the house is so functional and has this luxurious feel. There are all these little touches that just make it exceptional — yet still somehow us.” 

Card’s primary wish was for each kid to have their own room. She also wanted a dedicated office where she could host clients in person for her counselling practice — something she’d had to do virtually, due to space. They managed all that, and more. 

Bidgood helped Card trade in the tiny bedroom closets for expansive storage spaces. Cheerful, sophisticated colours were chosen to punctuate the home, and materials were selected on the basis of durability and being easy to clean. The team had an initial plan of repurposing fir joists from the original home, but salvaging the materials turned out to be impractical. Still, fir became a theme throughout the build, adding to a casual West Coast vibe that blended well with the terra cottas and greens throughout the home. 

A Long History

“There’s a [Charles] Eames quote that says success in design is when you can anticipate the needs of the client,” says Bidgood. “When you live somewhere, you stop seeing things. You learn how to live with it, even if it’s not really working. We look at what is truly needed and turn that into a reality.” 

From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
The soft grey-green of Benjamin Moore’s October Mist on the kitchen cabinet doors complements the fir panelling. Centura tiles by Magma in Grey Stone accent the backsplash, and style is taken up a notch up with the Urban Electric Company Double Arm Beldi hanging pendant lamp. The Caesarstone Cloudburst Concrete counters add durability to this high-use area. 
From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
A Sundays Field dining table and Form bench, paired with Gerrit dining chairs from The Bay, create a welcoming eating zone for this busy family. The Avery Natural Linen double drum pendant light from Crate & Barrel adds softness to the room.
From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
An office niche makes this area particularly functional, with built-in fir shelving tying its look in with the kitchen and surrounding wood features.
From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024

One element that surprised Bidgood — and others who worked on the project — was that the original concept remained almost untouched through to completion: a rare phenomenon in the design world. Bidgood says it speaks to the “dating process” between client and designer, and the fact that she and Card have such a long history. 

“Jess and I have known each other for so long — even if we haven’t spent that much time together recently — it was very easy to picture what they’d need,” says Bidgood. “Their house has a lot of action, and nothing was too precious. It had to be livable, like a perfectly broken-in pair of jeans: comfortable, but still looks great.” 

From the beloved kitchen island (where everyone congregates) to the cozy fireplace in the great room, the spa-like ensuite off the primary bedroom and the idyllic office, Card says the home is more than they ever could have asked for. 

From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
The Lorca free-standing tub by MAAX is the feature move of this ensuite, with Olympia Tile’s The Room porcelain tile in invisible white on the wall and floor. 
From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
Custom red oak cabinets with custom pulls by Trestle Millwork give this room an elevated, grown-up feel, while bringing in moments of colour that harken back to this family’s days of vibrant red posters and artwork. 
From Shoebox to Showcase - YAM Mar/Apr 2024
The Minted art piece adds playful, familial flair to the main bath on the upper floor. The wainscotting in Benjamin Moore’s Wind Chime hints back to the kitchen, and HanStone Quartz countertops in Strato and Cedar & Moss tilt cone pendant keep this space chic.

“People always exclaim how comfortable and welcoming the space is, and I really can’t take credit — that’s all Kyla,” says Card. “But then, Kyla will say, ‘This is all you. You chose the final pieces.’ It’s better than what we ever could have expected, and it’s exactly what we needed.” 

PROJECT SUPPORT

Architect: Hoyt Design Co.
Interior design: Bidgood
Builders: GT Mann Contracting 
Plumbing and mechanical: Specialized Plumbing & Gas Works
Heating: RedBlue Heating & Refrigeration
Electrician: Alliance Electric
Millwork and cabinetry: Trestle Millwork
Doors and hardware: Karmanah Wood Design / Slegg Building Materials 
Millwork: Trestle Millwork
Tile: JY Shinwoo Construction
Kitchen appliances: Trail Appliances 
Countertops: Colonial Countertops / FloForm Countertops 
Plumbing fixtures: EMCO Corporation 
Stairs: Ground Up Custom Carpentry
Fireplace: Inflame Heating 
Flooring: Hourigan’s Flooring / Percy John Flooring
Windows: Ply Gem Canada
Roofing: Ironclad Installations
Landscaping: Chi Earth and Waterscape